Cyber scams and cheats target job seekers

As more and more job seekers turn to the internet looking for employment, scammers are finding ways to dupe them out of their money. Cyber fraud, money laundering and scams are waiting to tempt online job seekers. Authorities have reported a large rise in online scams targeting those seeking a new job or a casual part time position. Police and investigators are uncovering new variations on old scams being utilised by groups focusing on the vulnerable job seeker.

One of the most successful businesses to transfer on to the internet has been the recruitment industry. Job seekers have found it easy to review various positions vacant in which suit their qualifications and experience as well as post their on details online in the hope of matching a position.

Unfortunately many job seekers, in their desperation to grab the opportunity of making some money, have fallen foul of fake adverts for nonexistent jobs. The dubious advertisers often use an interchangeable roll of generic business names, such as Green Recruitment, and obscure their office location and contact details – choosing to communicate via email only so that tracking them down later is extremely difficult.

One of the popular types of scams is to offer a supposed work from home position which involves the applicant utilising their own bank account to receive and make payments. Unfortunately, deposited cheques are fake or stolen and the electronic transfer deposits are from unwitting victims of different scams.

The fake employer offers to help get the job applicant started by depositing cheques into the job applicant’s bank account. The job applicant is then instructed to pay over most of those funds to other parties via electronic transfers. Unfortunately, the cheques are either fraudulent or already cashed whilst the recipients of the transfers are part of the criminal sting. This leaves the victim not only out of pocket for thousands of dollars but also liable for criminal prosecution for money laundering, however naïve and innocent the victim is.

Another scam is to have the victim complete a fake online application form which includes all their personal information such as full name, date of birth, current & past addresses, SSN or driving licence numbers. The position is nonexistent and the scam is to glean as much personable information as possible to affect the theft of their identity and start taking out false loans, mortgages over their property, credit cards applications etc.

One slightly more innocuous scam is to charge a small fee [usually less than $100] for assistance with finding that lucrative and sought after position. The assistance mainly consists of little more than obvious advice, contact numbers, government website addresses etc. Any person wanting a refund will find it nigh on impossible to contact the entity behind the website and any effort to do so is way beyond the $100 lost.

Some fake recruiters have been known to falsely claim to represent international companies for positions overseas. These fake recruiters then charge `processing fees’ and even go so far as to arrange bogus interview boards and medical examinations. The job seeker only learns that they have been scammed when the promised job fails to materialize and the HR Department of the intended employer has never heard of the agency. By this time, the recruiter has closed down, moved on, changed names and moved offices.

The most insidious schemes are those that dupe job seekers into frauds known as cash smugglers. These frauds are carried out by highly organised criminal syndicates with links to computer crime and money laundering. Victims are duped by fake financial services businesses supposedly operating from Switzerland or Hong Kong seeking “receiving payment agents”. The main qualities they seek are individuals who maintain a bank account and can make transfers [not much of a prerequisite].

The victim will be asked to receive payments into their bank account from “clients” (usually other fraud victims who have bought non existent goods) and forward the money to their “employer” (overseas bank accounts operated by members of the gang). Some victims are allowed to keep ten percent of the funds but most are promised payment later by direct deposit, which never arrives.

Re-shipper frauds take a similar tack but the victim handles goods rather that money. The victim gets taken in by an advert for fake international courier companies looking for a `logistic manager’. The victim then receives valuable items such as PlayStations, iPads and iPhones which have been purchased fraudulently on eBay or else online with stolen credit cards. The victim is required to forward these items to a foreign destination so that they can be resold in a third country for most of their retail price. The fraud normally comes unstuck when Police or investigators visit the victim’s address searching for stolen goods.

Tips to protect you from the scammers

Don’t Spread Your Personal Information. Be wary as to how much of your personal information you put out online via FaceBook, Twitter, postings etc. Scammers will pick up on this information to either engineer a plausible approach to you or else engineer theft of your identity.

Query any unsolicited approaches. Any email which appears to be mass marketed offering easy ways to make money is probably false. Look for a strange email address, poor spelling or punctuation, generic sounding names or addresses and the use of free email accounts.

Be realistic. Ask yourself why a finance company is willing to pay 10% for an act as simple as forwarding funds – what kind of business can’t open their own bank accounts. Computers and other devices are sold legitimately across the globe – why is there a premium discount for buying them in your country? Unless they’re stolen

Ask a friend. Before responding to any dubious sounding emails, ask a friend or relative to have a look and give their opinion. A fresh perspective not clouded by an urge to answer the email will spot it for what it really is.

Check them out. Some basic internet searching can reveal how likely the company is to be genuine. Do they have offices at genuine sounding addresses, how long has the website been running, what are the other links to the website and what information can you cross reference? Visit anti-fraud sites such as http://www.scamdex.com/ for any mentions or similar approaches.

Basically, use your common sense and be realistic about any job or money making offers. The internet levels the playing field in many sectors [think call-centres in India] so when an opportunity claiming to reward you for minimal effort sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do you need to know more about our services and how Regents can assist you with preventing fraud? Simply go to our Contact Us page for our phone numbers or else send an email to contactus@regentsriskadvisory.com with your contact details and we will respond at once.